Grilled Tuna Steaks with Spiced Vinaigrette

Grilled Tuna Steaks with Spiced Vinaigrette

The hot grilled tuna steaks wilts the watercress and parsley slightly, while the spiced vinaigrette adds tons of flavor and moisture.

If you like your grilled tuna rare, you must buy steaks cut about 1 1/2 inches thick. This will allow you to sear them well without overcooking the inside. To serve four people, you’ll need two tuna steaks (they run about 1 pound each).–Editors of Cook’s Illustrated

Grilled Tuna Steaks with Spiced Vinaigrette Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 30 M
  • 40 M
  • Serves 4


  • For the vinaigrette
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons juice from 1 lemon
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro leaves
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced or pressed through a garlic press (about 1 teaspoon)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon sweet paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • Ground black pepper
  • For the tuna steaks
  • 2 tuna steaks, about 1 1/2 inches thick (about 1 pound each)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • Salt and ground black pepper
  • Vegetable oil, for the cooking grate
  • 1 bunch watercress, washed, dried thoroughly, and trimmed of tough stems
  • 1 bunch flat-leaf parsley, washed and dried thoroughly


  • Make the vinaigrette
  • 1. Whisk the lemon juice, cilantro, garlic, salt, cumin, paprika, and cayenne together in a small bowl. Add the oil in a slow, steady stream, whisking constantly until smooth; season with black pepper to taste. Set the dressing aside.
  • Prepare the grill
  • 2. Light a large chimney starter filled with hardwood charcoal (about 6 quarts) and allow to burn until all the charcoal is covered with a layer of fine gray ash. Build a single-level fire by spreading the coals evenly over the bottom of the grill. Set the cooking grate in place, cover the grill with the lid, and let the grate heat up, about 5 minutes. Use a grill brush to scrape the cooking grate clean. The grill is ready when the coals are medium-hot.
  • Cook the tuna steaks
  • 3. Cut the tuna steaks in half to make four equal pieces. Brush the tuna with the olive oil and sprinkle generously with salt and pepper.
  • 4. Lightly dip a small wad of paper towels in vegetable oil; holding the wad with long-handled tongs, wipe the cooking grate. Grill the tuna, uncovered and turning once (using a metal spatula), to the desired doneness, 4 to 5 minutes for rare or 6 to 7 minutes for medium-rare.
  • 5. While the tuna is on the grill, place the watercress and parsley in a medium bowl. Drizzle half of the dressing over the greens and toss well. Divide the greens among 4 individual plates.
  • 6. Place one grilled tuna steak on each plate over the salad greens. Drizzle the remaining dressing over the steaks and serve immediately.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

This is a simple, quick and delicious way to make tuna steaks. We used loin steaks and grilled them for a few minutes per side so the fish was still rare on the inside. The vinaigrette is vibrant and fresh. The perfect meal for a hot summer night!

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